You might have asked yourself what would it take to obtain a Spanish passport. In this post, we will share some information about the requirements.
According to the Civil Code, Spanish nationality can be acquired through one of theseways which we will explain:
- Possessing a status
- Naturalization Card
For foreigners, the most common path to obtain Spanish nationality is through residence or option («nacionalidad por opción»).
Applications based on the residence requires:
- A minimum period of continuous legal residence
- good level of integration (e.g language exam, etc)
- good citizenship (without criminal record)
To exercise the right to opt for Spanish Nationality, the law requires also a minimum period of residence and a Spanish origin circumstance, understood as:
- Have been under the custody of a Spanish person.
- One of your parents were Spanish and born in Spain
- If your parents are foreigners and you were born in Spain under certain circumstances
- If you are adopted by Spanish parents when you are over 18
- If you discovered after you were over 18 years old that your parents were/are Spanish, or you were born in Spain
About the minimum time of continuous and legal residence:
The general rule is that a period of 10 years of continuous and legal residence is needed and it is applicable to all applications except for some situations listed by law.
For those who have a recognized refugee or asylum status in Spain, the period of continuous residence is reduced to 5 years.
In case you are a national of an Ibero-american country or from Andorra, philippines, Equatorial Guinea or Portugal, time of continuous legal residence would only be 2 years.
2 years of residence would also only be needed in the case of “Sephardic” origin.
The time of residence would be just 1 year if you are married to a Spanish citizen when applying for the nationality or widowed from a Spanish citizen and for all the situations in which a Spanish origin concur, but the person hasn’t applied for the nationality in the past.
What does legal residence mean?
When the law refers to legal residence, it deliberately excludes all cases of short term stays and any other permit that does not give you a resident status, such as students.
How to be sure of the continuity of my residence?
The continuity requires a person to reside in a place without long periods of absence.
Immigration law can be used guidance based on your type of permit to establish what would be considered a long or acceptable period of absence from Spain.
However, it is discretionary to the Ministry of Justice, the criteria applied when it comes to nationality dossiers.
How can you prove that there were no large periods of absences from Spain?
Passports are the most common document to prove your migratory movements.
However, as for EU citizen and sometimes their family members, EU countries do not seal the passport for each exit and entry, in these cases complementary documents would be needed.
When it comes to integration, how to prove it?
A part of all documents that prove that you have been living effectively in Spain, an exam of the language and culture has been created which is to be used as an indicator of your level of integration.
There are some circumstances that would excuse the obligation of presenting these two exams with your nationality application:
Documents from Spanish Highschool or College diploma, for example, would prove your Spanish language level and Spanish cultural knowledge or integration by default.
However, even if you have documents that you consider enough, a request needs to be addressed to the ministry to accept the substitution.
About the “Good Citizenship”, what do you need to know?
The good citizenship is proven when the person interested does not have criminal or police records in Spain or in their home country.
It is important to know that both records are legally erasable after a period of time without committing a crime again.
In case you haven’t been condemned you need to request the police to erase your name from their records as an offender before applying to the nationality.
We recommend to always start requesting a criminal and police record certificate to make sure there is no previous actions to take, before filing the nationality application.
Any foreign document needs to be legally accepted in Spain.
Some documents issued by EU country member do not need translation nor apostille but, this is an exception not the general rule.
Before presenting your documents make sure they are less than 3 months old and are dully translated and legalized or apostilled.